ROSEPINE - The Pickering Red Devils held off a late Rosepine drive, forcing a fumble to silence the late Eagle surge, hanging on to a 13-12 victory.

ROSEPINE - The Pickering Red Devils held off a late Rosepine drive, forcing a fumble to silence the late Eagle surge, hanging on to a 13-12 victory.

Fumbles plagued the Red Devils on Friday evening from the first blow of the whistle. Pickering quarterback Patrick Hinson hit Jermal DuBose with pass a in the open field, which Dubose could not hold onto resulting in the first turnover of the game.

Recent NSU baseball signee and current Eagle quarterback, Jesse Fruge, connected with Kollin Cook on a 19-yard touchdown pass for the first points of the game, leading Vernon Parish rival Pickering, 6-0, with 9:05 remaining in the first half of the jamboree.

It did not take the Red Devils long to answer with some points of their own as Hinson found some open room, scoring on their next possession with an impressive 64-yard TD run, knotting the game up at 6-6 with 8:11 remaining in the half.

Despite picking up two first downs, Fruge and the Rosepine offense could not muster anything to fool the Pickering defense, turning the ball over on downs on their ensuing possession with the game still knotted at 6-6 with just over five minutes remaining before halftime.

Jermaine Milton had two fine runs for the Red Devils on their final possession of the half, picking up 39 yards, helping set up a 23-yard TD run from Quan Blackwell to find pay dirt. With a Mikey Simoneaux extra point, Pickering took a 13-6 lead with 4:18 remaing.

Rosepine, determined to score again before halftime, put up an impressive drive of its own, going 64 yards in eight plays, capped with a Nathan Hosler 2-yard touchdown run, cutting the score to 13-12, with 27 ticks left on the clock before halftime.

Rosepine coach Danny Smith took a play out of Les Miles playbook with a successful onside kick, which unfortunately they could not convert, going into halftime trailing by a point, 13-12.

Both teams fumbled the once each in the second half with Rosepine’s fumble proving to be the most costly.

Sophomore quarterback Cade Ledet stepped up, answering the call when Fruge was sidelined with an injury just prior to the Eagles final possession.

Brandon Hepinstall got the drive started with a 9-yard run, while Ledet lost 10 yards on his first two carries. But Ledet quickly shook off the jitters, answering with a 45-yard run, giving the Eagles a second wind. Heptinstall found some open room around the outside picking up 11 yards for another Rosepine first down.

The momentum began to shift for Rosepine as Ledet completed a 21-yard pass to Kolby Cook and things were looking dismal for the Red Devils. But things quickly changed as Pickering picked up a loose ball, silencing the Rosepine drive, holding off the Eagles, 13-12.

After the game, Pickering coach Johnny Cryer told his kids, “We got the monkey off our backs,” as this was the first time the Red Devils had beat the Eagles on the gridiron in over five seasons. “We still have a long way to go with a young team, but this is a nice way to get the season started.”

“What we wanted to do tonight was get better and we did that. We competed for 24 minutes,” Smith said. “I thought our kids played hard and we were able to gain experience. The only way we can get better is to play.”

Rosepine will open up its season on Thursday, Sept. 4, as it travels to Merryville to face the Panthers, while the Red Devils will travel to Mamou on Friday, Sept 5, to face the Green Demons.

Both games are slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff.